NS Mind Support Groups
Two support groups have been set up by a Stoke-on-Trent charity thanks to fundraising from families who have been bereaved by suicide.

The groups, which take place across the city, will be hosted by North Staffs Mind’s Maccas Project, set up in memory of Thomas McCauley to support the mental health of young men in the area.

Caroline Scol, Younger Mind Service Manager, said:

“The Maccas Project has been going since 2013 and we’ve reached over 12,500 people during that time. Over the past two years, we have seen more families coming to us who have been bereaved by suicide.

“Seven families attended the launch event for these two groups on Wednesday, May 29 – six of those had been bereaved by male suicide, which reflects national figures. We’d like to encourage more men to share their feelings and also support families who have experienced bereavement from suicide.”

One of the groups will take the form of relaxed Be Excellent to Each Other meetings for men to share their feelings and gain emotional support. The group has been set up in memory of DJ Jackson Cummings, from Trentham.

Jackson’s mother, Viv Cummings, said:

“A lot of men don’t feel comfortable talking about their feelings in a formal environment, so the group will be meeting at relaxed venues. There’s still a massive stigma attached to mental health and I think men fear they’ll be branded with a label if they go to the doctor or direct to North Staffs Mind. But it is vital that they talk, and this group will allow them to speak to other men in the same boat, so they realise these feelings affect a lot of people and they don’t feel isolated.”

Meanwhile, the Callum’s Destiny support group has been established in memory of Callum Brundrett from Kidsgrove and will help those affected by suicide.

Dominique Byrne, Callum’s sister, said:

“There were no support groups locally and we had to travel to Middlewich. There is a huge demand for mental health support; I’m a hairdresser and lots of people I speak to have struggled with poor mental health or know someone who has. We’ve already had a lot of interest in the group after just one week, so I know this will help a lot of people.”

Both groups will benefit from a qualified counsellor and peer-to-peer support. The Callum’s Destiny group meets every other Monday 5.30-7.30pm and the Be Excellent to Each Other group meets every Wednesday 5.30-7.30pm. Find North Staffs Mind on Facebook or call 01782 262100 for venue information. You can also donate at justgiving.com/northstaffsmind.

North Staffs Mind would like to thank businesses for providing venues free of charge.